Christmas tree in front of custom built=in cabinets flanking fireplace
Photo: Susan Gilmore
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Custom Built-ins

That was the look she wanted to bring to her new home, along with a decor that would convey the couple's grown-up tastes and comfy-casual lifestyle. The raw ingredients: "Your typical lakefront home that had had a series of updates over the years, with shed dormers front and back, a 1950s picture window with crank-out windows on each side in one room and double-hungs in another," says Andrea. "It lacked continuity—none of it made sense."

But how to add a little design logic while preserving the home's traditional warren of first-floor rooms? No. 1: "We took the plunge and tore off the roof," says Andrea, allowing the house to gain a new facade—and master suite—without expanding out. And No. 2, "instead of completely demolishing interior walls, we decided to widen the passageways between rooms," she says.

Armed with a detailed plan, the couple went to a local design-build firm, Lake Country Builders, which helped translate it into renderings and work schedules. The goal was to bring light and spaciousness and easy-going decor into the formerly dark house, making it as comfortable and inviting as an old New England inn.

Pictured: The living room was treated to a makeover that included custom built-ins for a more finished look.

Interior paints (custom colors): Donald Kaufman Color
Chairs: A. Rudin
Slipcover and ottoman fabrics: Holly Hunt
Holiday decorations: General Store of Minnetonka
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